September 10, 2022

Billy Miller had a spectacular accident just before school started. He hit his head and got a big lump on it. 

He’s worried that now he won’t be smart enough for grade 2. 

His dad tells him not to worry—he knows everything and he knows that this is the Year of Billy Miller.

Billy Miller is 7-years-old. He lives with his mom, dad, and 3-year-old sister. He has a best friend named Ned, loves bats, and is annoyed by his little sister. He says that running always makes him feel better. 

Newbery Honor author and Caldecott Medalist, Kevin Henkes has created a chapter book suitable for 7-year-olds. As mentioned before, I’m a huge fan of Henkes children’s books as he always captures the wonder and curiosity of a child both with his brilliant writing and adorable illustrations. I’ve only read his picture books so I was excited to read one of his highly acclaimed short chapter books. 

I’m no librarian, but I’ve heard this age group does not often have books written for them, other than the Ramona series. We have picture books, easy readers, early chapter books, and middle grade fiction. The Year of Billy Miller is unique as an early chapter fiction book with younger than middle grade kids in mind. Henkes offers a boy-centric point of view and it’s so accurate and delightful. He has created a light-hearted book filled with humour and heart. 

It was refreshing to read a book where there was no suspense, violence, or drama of any kind. This is a simple story of a boy dealing with everyday struggles of school, and trying to figure himself out. The family members are supportive and loving. Written in 4 sections offering a perspective on the teacher, sister, mother, and father, we learn how Billy feels about each of these important people in his life. 

This book made me feel good! 

It’s perfect as a read aloud book for the younger grades and for any child who’s not too sure about grade 2. 

Helps with: grade 2, classmates who annoy you, growing up, making decisions, family relationships, siblings, friendships, and recognizing and dealing with feelings.